A (Brief) Introduction To The Sprocker Spaniel
In today’s post, we’re going to explore one of the most popular cross-breeds of recent years, the Sprocker Spaniel.
As you can probably decipher from the name, the Sprocker Spaniel is a cross between a Springer Spaniel and a Cocker Spaniel, i.e. two Spaniels for the price of one! However, given that it is a mix of two types of Spaniel, it is not yet recognised by the Kennel Club.
Unlike most cross-breeds, Sprocker Spaniels aren’t ‘designer’ dogs as they were, in fact, originally bred as working dogs. However, that shouldn’t put you off owning one as they really do make fantastic family pets if trained and socialised correctly.
Sprocker Spaniel: A History
Although the origin of the Spaniel can be traced back to the 17th century, it wasn’t until the 1990s when Sprocker Spaniels rose to prominence and were recognised and desired as a cross-breed. Although we don’t know exactly when the Sprocker Spaniel was first bred, it is thought that the cross-breed was bred initially by gamekeepers for working purposes. Over time, this hard-working breed has earned an excellent reputation both in the field and the home environment, which is why it is no surprise that they are becoming increasingly more popular.
One question we receive more than any other where Sprocker Spaniels are concerned is regarding their suitability as a family pet, which doesn’t surprise us given their working dog background. Ultimately, any dog breed – be it a pure breed or cross-breed – can make a superb family pet, provided that the dog is trained and socialised correctly from a very young age; and this is no different for the Sprocker Spaniel. After all, both Springer Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels are two of the most popular family pets in the UK today – so why would a cross of the two breeds also make an excellent family pet? We can’t see any reason why the wouldn’t and plenty of reason why they would!
Sprocker Spaniel: Appearance & Physical Traits
Sprocker Spaniels are handsome dogs that, surprise, surprise, resemble a Springer and Cocker all rolled into one! And, like most Spaniels, they’re very handsome and proud looking dogs. That being said, all dogs are unique – even if they share the same parents – so don’t be surprised to see variations in both looks and temperament (which we’ll get onto a little later on in this article).
Like their parents, Sprocker Spaniels have long, drooping ears, a broad muzzle, and have noses that match up to their coat colour. Furthermore, they’re also very athletic looking and are typically well-muscled, with powerful back legs.
Coat colour varies from dog to dog and can be any colour or colour combination that’s commonly seen in either parent breed, such as solid colours, dual colours, tri-colours, roan, liver and white, black and white, and chocolate. That being said, from our experience, the most common colour is black.
Average male height: 43-50cm.
Average male weight: 16-20kg
Average female height: 40-50cm.
Average female weight: 14-20kg.
Sprocker Spaniel: Temperament & Personality
If you’ve ever owned or interacted with a Spaniel, you’ll know just how much they love people and just how much they love to play – and it’s no different with Sprocker Spaniels! If we had to pick out a handful of words that describes the Sprocker Spaniel, we’d choose: loyal, alert, affectionate, and energetic, which is why they have become so popular both as working dogs and as family pets.
However, one thing that must always be kept in mind is that Sprocker Spaniels are very high-energy pets; therefore, they need to be kept busy as much as possible. They excel in environments where they’re able to expel as much energy as possible, so if you’re a big fan of getting out and about and having adventures in the great outdoors, a Sprocker Spaniel might be the dog for you. However, if you’re more of a home dweller who wants to potter around the local park for 45 minutes a day, a Sprocker Spaniel won’t be a good choice of pet.
But it’s not only about physical exercise; Sprocker Spaniels are exceptionally intelligent dogs; therefore, they require a lot of mental stimulation as well as physical activity. This is the case for most dog breeds, but it’s particularly important for breeds like the Sprocker Spaniel.
Sprocker Spaniel: Exercise & Activity
As you’re no doubt already aware, given that we’ve mentioned it numerous times, Sprocker Spaniels require lots of exercise and mental stimulation each and every day. Ultimately, if you want your Sprocker to be a well-behaved, obedient, and happy dog, you need to cater to their needs – and lots of stimulation is something Sprocker both want and need!
As a general guide, we recommend at least an hour to an hour and a half of “off lead” exercise each day. This can be done during one walk or split over several walks; as long as your dog is getting sufficient exercise, it doesn’t matter how many walks per day they have.
If your Sprocker gets sufficient exercise and mental stimulation they’ll be too tired to cause any mischief and will gladly snooze for large parts of the day!
It is, however, important not to over-exercise Sprocker Spaniel puppies because their bones and joints are still developing.
Sprocker Spaniel: Trainability & Intelligence
If there are two traits that define Sprocker Spaniels (and Spaniels in general), it’s that they’re incredibly intelligent and extremely food orientated. This means that when in the right hands, Sprocker Spaniels are highly trainable – especially when they know there’s a tasty treat awaiting them! So, provided that you train and socialise them in the correct fashion, there’s no reason why your Sprocker shouldn’t be a well-behaved, obedient dog.
However, due to their intelligence, they’re just as quick to learn bad habits as they are good ones, so training your Sprocker requires a degree of firmness; otherwise, they’ll take over. For this reason, training must begin very early on and be consistent throughout their life, even when they’re an adult dog. Furthermore, frequent training also helps to build a bond between you and your dog, which should help to make training and life easier as you progress.
Despite being intelligent and affectionate, Sprockers can often be very stubborn, which is why firm training is required from the day you first welcome them into their home. Although their stubbornness shouldn’t cause too many issues, it may cause behavioural problems if left untrained.
Sprocker Spaniel: Health
The life expectancy of a Sprocker Spaniel is typically between 10 and 14 years, provided that they are fed a healthy diet and get plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation throughout their life. Although Sprocker Spaniels are undoubtedly robust dogs, they are prone to several hereditary health conditions, so it’s important to be aware of these before owning a Sprocker. Said ailments include but are not limited to:
- Hip Dysplasia.
- Eye issues.
Sprocker Spaniel: Other Animals & Children
A well-trained and socialised Sprocker Spaniel will thrive in a family environment. However, as is the case with all dog breeds, play between your four-legged friend and young children should always be supervised regardless of how well they get along. Teaching your children and dog how to interact with each other safely is crucial.
Where other dogs are concerned, Sprockers generally have no issues interacting with other dogs, provided that your dog has been socialised well from an early age (with dogs, humans, and new surroundings). Of course, each dog is different, so it’s important to expose your Sprocker to as many other dogs as possible to ensure harmonious ‘meet and greets’ when you’re out walking in areas with lots of other dogs.
If introduced to other pets, such as cats, from an early age, they should get on just fine; however, it’s imperative to remember that working dogs do have an instinctive prey drive, which can come out at any time. Although it’s unlikely to occur with animals they’re familiar with, it’s important to remain vigilant when there are other animals about.
Feeding your Sprocker Spaniel
If you have bought (or are going to buy) your Sprocker puppy directly from a breeder, it’s important to stick to the same feeding schedule and routine as this will help avoid any potential digestive issues. If you want to make changes to your puppy’s diet and/or feeding schedule, it’s essential to do so gradually, as this will help to reduce stomach or digestive problems (it’s always wise to talk things through with your vet prior to doing so beforehand also).
Adult and senior Sprocker Spaniels aren’t know for being selective or fussy eaters, but you should still feed them the highest quality diet you can afford. Always use the instructions on the back of the dog food packet(s) to determine exactly how much to feed your Sprocker. Although it doesn’t have to be rigidly stuck to, it is best to follow the general guidelines…with the odd treat thrown in from time time, of course!
However, even you’re feeding your Sprocker the recommend amount, always keep an eye on their weight and condition. Obesity can reduce a dog’s longevity by several years, so ensuring they’re always in fine fettle is critical. Plenty of exercise will help to negate over-eating; however, it’s best not to rely on more exercise to make up for a diet that’s either excessive in calories or macro/micronutrient deficient.
Sprocker Spaniel: Grooming
Sprocker Spaniels are a (cross)breed that requires frequent grooming, i.e. at least three to four times per week. Specific attention should be paid to their legs, paws, ears, and bellies because the hair in these areas tends to grow longer than hair in other parts of their body, and knots and tangles far more easily. Plus, frequent grooming help to remove any dirt or debris your dog may have picked up on walks.
While some dogs are completely at ease when being groomed, others aren’t happy about being groomed at all, so to reduce the chances of your Sprocker falling into the latter category, it’s crucial to begin grooming at a very early age. We recommend not taking your Sprocker puppy to a professional dog groomer as one bad experience may cause a lifetime of issues; instead, groom your puppy by yourself at least for the first three or months to get them used to it. Then, if or when you do decide to take them to a professional dog groomer, ensure you’re on hand to reassure and comfort them should they get scared.
Sprocker Spaniel: Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, we’ll answer some of the most commonly asked questions about Sprocker Spaniels. If you have any other questions about Sprockers, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!
Are Sprocker Spaniels suited to first-time dog owners?
Given their high levels of intelligence coupled with their exceptionally energetic nature, Sprocker Spaniels aren’t the best of choices for first-time dog owners. Although Sprockers are relatively easily trained, it takes a firm hand (not literally!) to teach them their place within the family and what is expected of them. This isn’t to say that first-time dog owners shouldn’t get a Sprocker if they have their heart set on it, but it’s something to take into consideration before making such a big commitment.
Do Sprocker Spaniels have a high prey drive?
Sprocker Spaniels were originally bred to both flush out and retrieve; therefore, it’d be wise to assume that all Sprockers still have these instincts hard-wired into their brains. However, as Sprockers are highly intelligent, it is, of course, possible to train your dog to “leave” animals when commanded to do so – just be mindful of being vigilant when small animals are around, as no matter how well trained your dog is, their natural instinct may still override learnt behaviours.
Do Sprocker Spaniels suffer from separation anxiety?
Sprockers are extremely loyal animals; therefore, it’s not uncommon for them to form a strong bond with their owner(s), meaning that extended time apart may, indeed, result in separation anxiety. Like most dog breeds, Sprockers are far happier when in the company of their owners/family, although having other (familiar) pets around will help your four-legged friend to feel less alone.
Do Sprocker Spaniels bark excessively?
While Sprockers aren’t known as the quietest dog breed in the world, they certainly aren’t the loudest either. Given that Spaniels were bred to flush out prey quietly, it’s unlikely that your Sprocker will have the urge to bark excessively. However, if left alone for extended periods, it wouldn’t be surprising if your four-legged friend decided to take up barking as his favourite hobby!
Do Sprocker Spaniels like water/swimming?
All Spaniels have a natural affinity for water and swimming, so don’t be surprised if they jump in any form of water whenever they get the chance! Although this can, of course, be fun, it’s important to keep a close eye on your Sprocker near water as it may not always be safe to fling themselves (with their characteristic reckless abandon!) into said water for a quick dip! We recommend keeping your dog on a lead near water unless it is 100% safe and/or you’re going to be joining them in the water.
Do Sprocker Spaniels make good watchdogs?
Given their naturally friendly nature, I don’t think Sprocker Spaniels would make effective guard dogs…unless you’re confident they could lick any intruder to death! Of course, Sprockers will bark if there’s something in or around your home that they don’t recognise, but it’s unlikely they’ll do much else but bark and get a bit excited. In short, don’t use a Sprocker Spaniel as a guard dog!
How much does it cost to keep a Sprocker Spaniel?
Although answering a question like is akin to answering the questions, ‘How long is a piece of strong?’, it’s important for potential owners to get a rough idea of how much it costs to care for a Sprocker; so, here goes!
In terms of price for a Sprocker puppy, prices vary anywhere between £300 and £1000, although most people pay between £300 and £600. On top of this, you need to think about insurance, which is typically between £20 and £45 per month, depending on which type of insurance you take out. Add in food – another £40-£50 per month – toys, treats, annual vaccinations, and anything else that you may need or want, and it’s possible for the total cost per year to be in excess of £1000.